Bold debut for Johnston in examining diversity
Arriving for the world premiere preview evening of our very own Owain Johnston’s first full-length play, Killing Carlisle, I was pleased to see a full auditorium of theatregoers had braved Post Tropical Cyclone Jerry to support the Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society’s latest production.
Director Carol Birch and Debbie Mackenzie’s immersive living room set design was an homage to all things Bermudian; from the cedar furniture, local artwork and well-placed literature, to the set of golf clubs in the corner, we were in no doubt as to where the events of this dark comedy were going to unfold.
Geoff Faiella and Raven Baksh take on the leading duo, Doe and Lily, and have clearly worked hard getting to grips with the dialogue-heavy script.
Loaded with genuinely funny exchanges, the audience was immediately entertained and laughing out loud.
Admittedly, there were a few moments when I had to agree with Faiella’s character’s confession of, “I’m not sure I’m following”, but then Rupert appeared!
Charles Doyle, who gives a standout performance as the “fetish party centrepiece”, became the first of many twists and turns throughout the performance.
Bermudian references continue throughout the play, in the form of spoken anecdotes, local laws, tree frog sound effects and, surprisingly and hilariously, the iconic brown paper bag.
Yes, there was an abundance of rude language and debauchery, but this was cleverly offset with unexpected portrayals of modern relationships and tales of morality.
Baksh portrayed her character’s unstable state of mind effectively and believably, while Faiella’s unassumingly thoughtful hitman remained unflappable in the face of adversity.
The second act saw a welcome acceleration of drama and pace, with seasoned actors Will Kempe and Thérèse Bean commanding the stage in their supporting roles as the odious Lord and Lady of the Manor, imparting their experience and wisdom. Birch’s direction understands Johnston’s intention to explore the diversity of Bermuda.
Ultimately, it’s a bold debut from Johnston, who has embarked upon a new journey after the success of his Famous for Fifteen Minutes plays.
I look forward to seeing how he will develop as a playwright and hope audiences will support our local talent in the upcoming run of this show.
• Killing Carlisle runs Thursday through Saturday at Daylesford Theatre. Performances begin at 8pm. Tickets, $35, are available at ptix.bm and at the theatre box office one hour before each show. For more information: 292-0848 or bmds.bm
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